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A bridge so near

Folsom Lake Crossing to open Saturday with festival
By: Don Chaddock, The Telegraph
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For commuters tired of battling bumper-to-bumper traffic through Folsom, their wait for an easier route comes to an end this Saturday. Folsom Lake Crossing, the newest bridge crossing the American River, opens at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday with a festival. The bridge will open to traffic at 4 p.m. For Project Engineer Dave Nugen, the bridge is the third on which he’s worked since coming on board with the city. “They hired me on for Lake Natoma Crossing,” he said. Sue Ryan, the city’s public information officer, said Nugen is quite familiar with the bridges across the American River. “He was also project engineer for Lake Natoma Crossing and the Truss Bridge,” she said. The newest bridge is capable of supporting 40,000 vehicles per day, but the city expects that number to be lower when the bridge first opens, according to Folsom Mayor Steve Miklos. “We expect 22,000 per day, knowing what it was taking before the dam road closed,” he said. “We’re looking forward to this.” For El Dorado Hills resident John Page, the bridge’s opening will make getting to I-80 much easier. “I go up to Truckee all the time and it will cut like 20 minutes off the drive,” he said. Cassie Gonzales, of Citrus Heights, said the new bridge would make getting to Roseville and the surrounding area much easier. “It’s going to lighten up traffic on Riley,” she said. “The bridge will see a lot of use by those trying to get to the Citrus Heights area.” Miklos said the bridge’s opening is a reason to celebrate. “Completing a project of this magnitude, from planning to funding and construction in just six years, is a phenomenal accomplishment,” he said. Speakers slated for the opening day ceremonies include former Rep. John T. Doolittle, Rep. Tom McClintock, Rep. Dan Lungren, former Rep. Doug Ose, Miklos, Vice Mayor Jeff Starsky, City Council members Kerri Howell, Andy Morin and Ernie Sheldon, Assistant Secretary of the Army John Paul Woodley, Jr., U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region Director Don Glaser, California Water Resources Director Lester Snow, Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency Board Chairwoman Susan Peters and Richard Raine of Kiewit Pacific. The Folsom High School Marching Band will perform the National Anthem following a presentation of colors by the Honor Guards of the Folsom Police Department and Folsom Fire Department, according to Ryan. The festival will also include live music by the Dam Road Closed band, a vintage car display by Cappuccino Cruisers, a new car display by Folsom Auto Mall and other displays by local organizations and city departments. Admission to the festival is free. Parking will be available on the one-mile stretch of roadway off of East Natoma Street that leads to the new bridge. The city will provide shuttle service. “We figure we can park 1,500 cars on the road,” Ryan said. Miklos expects a large turnout. “Based on the opening of Folsom Lake Crossing in 1999, we expect around 6,000 people here if the weather is good,” he said. Don Chaddock may be reached at donc@goldcountrymedia.com.